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Contact fans (we know you’re out there) and those interested in the search for intelligent life on other planets should groove on this science-fiction story.
It seems the SETI Institute’s Alien Telescope Array is back in business after having to be put into “hibernation” back in April due to budgetary concerns. The 42-antenna, situated in Northern California, has been active for decades and even stepped in to continue scientists’ quest for alien radio signals long after NASA cut off funding for such audio explorations back in 1993. But recent cuts in funding from the University of California at Berkeley put the SETI Institute’s project in jeopardy, MSNBC reports.
Well, Jodie Foster was having none of that, and so the Oscar-winning actress joined a group of financial contributors who pledged more than $200,000 to keep the antenna array in operation. Foster, of course, played a SETI researcher in Robert Zemeckis’ 1997 drama Contact which may or may not have seen Foster’s character make contact with extraterrestrials. Truthfully, we love Contact for Matthew McConaughey’s soft-spoken Christian philosopher, the closest the laid-back actor has come to achieving Zen-like tranquility on screen.
Foster wasn’t alone. Her contributions joined those of sci-fi novelist Larry Niven and Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, who wrote a note with his contribution stating, “It is absolutely irresponsible of the human race not to be searching for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence.”
I understand Niven and Anders’ interests in the project. But what’s Foster’s hook? Is she hoping the SETI Institute somehow records alien audio, leading to a Contact sequel? Or does she quietly support organizations that are tied to her past films? Maybe there’s a panic room association out there in need of contributions? Or an animal research center that removes voice boxes from lambs? No matter the cause, we like to believe Foster is donating funds to keep their work humming along.